Square Enix intends to be «aggressive in applying AI», says CEO

Square Enix will be «aggressive in applying AI» and other «cutting-edge technologies» to its development and publishing functions.

CEO Takashi Kiryu has shared his annual new year letter, setting the tone for the company in 2024.

«Artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential implications had for some time largely been subjects of academic debate,» he said of AI development in 2023.

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«However, the introduction of ChatGPT, which allows anyone to easily produce writing or translations or to engage in text-based dialogue, sparked the rapid spread of generative AIs.

«I believe that generative AI has the potential not only to reshape what we create, but also to fundamentally change the processes by which we create, including programming.»

Later in the letter Kiryu outlined the company’s plans for 2024. «We also intend to be aggressive in applying AI and other cutting-edge technologies to both our content development and our publishing functions,» he said.

«In the short term, our goal will be to enhance our development productivity and achieve greater sophistication in our marketing efforts. In the longer term, we hope to leverage those technologies to create new forms of content for consumers, as we believe that technological innovation represents business opportunities.»

The outline also includes a short mention of blockchain technology. «In terms of new business domains, we previously identified three focus investment fields, namely blockchain entertainment/Web 3.0, AI, and the cloud,» he said.

«Last year we redefined our overarching mission and goals for these three fields. We are currently working to modify our organisational structure and optimise our resource allocations to support these efforts.»

The 2023 new year letter was written by then-CEO Yosuke Matsuda, which doubled down on blockchain technology and NFTs. «Blockchain has been an object of exhilaration and a source of turmoil, but with that in the rearview mirror, we hope that blockchain games will transition to a new stage of growth in 2023,» said Matsuda, acknowledging the «sombre string of news stories with blockchain connections» in 2022.

Perhaps it’s telling that Kiryu only briefly mentioned blockchain technology in this year’s letter. Details of the company’s Web3 experience Symbiogenesis were revealed last year and Final Fantasy 7 trading card NFTs were released, but news of both has since gone quiet.

The use of AI is certainly growing in the games industry, so Square Enix is not alone in its plans.

Most recently, ID@Xbox was criticised for using AI art in its Christmas message, as reported by Pure Xbox.

Elsewhere, Microsoft now offers generative AI tools to its studios, but the industry as a whole appears sceptical of the technology.

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